Middle Georgia Cold Cases: Body in the Backwoods
Sgt. Allen Henderson, the lead investigator on the case, says this case is unusual because to this day he has no idea who the dead man in the woods and he wants help.
Deer hunters frequently shuffle through the woods on the west side of Monroe County. While moving through the trees and bushes, one hunter found trash bags filled with an unsuspected surprise.
“He was decayed to the point where you couldn’t make out his face,” Henderson said.
It was a man’s body, but who was he?
“There was no identity or no I.D. on him,” Henderson said.
Nearly six months passed and investigators had no idea where to start. Henderson says that’s when they got their first clues. A Monroe County woman, Jennifer Robin Shaw, came forward and said she knew what happened to the man. After getting arrested in Atlanta for a different case, Shaw told authorities she had information on what deputies determined to be a murder.
Shaw’s mother told investigators her daughter’s boyfriend, Alan Jacinto, was the man responsible for the crime.
The man’s body was dumped on Ingram Road.
“All we had is some ideas from the crime lab about he might have been hispanic, his height, his size, that sort of thing,” Henderson said.
Notes from the case show the couple picked up the man in Doraville, just outside of Atlanta, with intentions to rob him, but he didn’t have any money.
“Basically they’d rob people. They’d take them out somewhere, hit them over the head and steal their money,” Henderson said.
After the man figured out who Robin was, she told investigators she tried getting him out of the car, but he refused — that’s when she went to her house in Monroe County.
Jacinto wasn’t happy and took matters into his own hands.
“The guy with her got out and hit him in the head with a baseball bat and it killed him,” Hamilton said.
Then the couple dumped the body. Henderson says Robin told him her boyfriend took the victim’s jewelry and got rid of his ID cards. With Shaw in custody, the search was on for Jacinto.
“He went to Mexico, but about 8 years later he was caught in Texas,” Henderson said.
The long-time investigator went to Texas to get who he thought was the suspect, all while posting these flyers around the state trying to figure out the name of the man who was killed.
After a trial, Shaw was found guilty to her part in the murder. A judge determined there wasn’t enough evidence to convict Jacinto, leaving Henderson with more questions than answers.
“I just think it’s important that the family knew,” Henderson said.
While he isn’t waiting for justice, he says he’d like the peace of mind knowing whose body was found in the backwoods.
“There’s no way to get the chance to notify the family. He’s buried in a grave with no name on it. That’s pretty much where he is today.”
Henderson says he used the victim’s dental records to try to identify him and has had no luck. He adds it’s a possibility the man could’ve illegally been the country.
The GBI reconstructed an image of the man. If you recognize him call the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office at 478-994-7010.